I, an accomplished thief, do not steal because I greed, or envy the men behind their walls or fine fabrics. I steal because it makes for good story telling.
I trespass on principle. And of course on great and virtuous aims.
My job is to rescue. I enter homes, battle great gaurdian demons of suspicion, and seduce vaults to save defenseless gems from their imprisonment. Their lives, henceforth, of fast hands and shadowed passage make for far more fitting tales for such prizes.
Every stone valued behind some hero’s quest to retrieve them. Every rock growing more coveted once it’s gone, holding their masters in an unbreakable grip that men may only dream of.
Back in Mangalore the library came to us. Struggling against the heat and the uphill climb an old man cycled closer.
Every month or fortnight he’d arrive. His bycycle had a large open box attached at the back. He could have fit in it easily. The box was made of tin or some metal that was showing its age, but it was not rusted.
Inside the box were comic books and magazines. Good literature too, maybe some religious works but I never bothered about them. The family would gather near the bycycle and pick up new material. The old man always stood bent over the box, watching what we’d pick up.
The material wasn’t actually new. They were just the latest things he got his hands on. Books from America libraries, books that said “remember me Jess”, book with random writing, folds and tears. The books were usually from the 70’s and 80’s with Americans having written in them. I have no idea how they got here.
I’d take copies of Archie’s comics and try to figure out the magazines. I must have been very young; I was very proud about having learnt how to spell “Zoo” from one of them.
The cycle library seemed to disappear from my life after a while, just all those warm Mangalore afternoons when there was nothing to do.
A serpent slithered besides me
Demanding paper with every step.
I had plenty I thought,
And gave a page now and then.
Blank paper; what is better
Than to spoil it? So he was fed.
Soon we reached my door
And what monster did I beget
Now slithering across my floor?
Where is the pain of travel
When the road is your home?
Is it this new desert that is barren
Or my soul?
Far way from the soil
You must know
The rituals of death
Come from tradition.
Long ago in the forests of our youth
We’d climb the trees and far flung branch.
That’s where I left my dream
Hanging onto the old wood bark.
Still I haunt the dried out tree,
In the light of the setting sun
Too far to reach,
I dare not climb.
Visiting my grandparents was always an ordeal that inspired a variety of emotions. Every holiday I’d be sent away to their farm; until last year when they moved to city after my grandfather developed heart problems.
While I was still in school visiting the estate was something I looked forward to; I had next to no homework and could explore the farm or have people regal me stories all day long. When I was an adolescent I resented it because of how slow everything went and the lack of cable TV. When they moved to the city and had access to a greater amount of channels I had long since given up on TV and had moved onto the internet. This time however I think I’ve had a little too much of it all.
I decided that if I spent anymore time staring at a screen I’ll go blind and insane, or be overcome come by a desire to become one with the internet. While Mangalore isn’t the sleepy, green memory from my childhood it does have many quiet spots where moss grows on the walls next to quiet streams, cats laze about in the few spots where the sun makes it past the trees and human life seems non-existent. Every time I see an old building being torn down I repeatedly tell my companion for the day about the many woes of capitalism .
So much gets done when you have nothing to do. My minds still races around trying to figure out what it needs to get done. I’ve decided to not try and stop it since realizing that there’s nothing to do is an awesome feeling. I woke up at around 8:30 and spent an hour or so looking at the chickens next door than hopped up a few branches. It’s 11:30 now.So far I’ve read bit of Ruskin Bond and decided I should take note of his essay and strive for clarity in my writing. I’ve also started reading a history book in french, a Kannada magazine, watched a bit of tennis with my grandfather etc.
Among the many unusual delights the cities sleepiness has thrown up so far is the odd little man who stands in the apartment basement. I saw him yesterday and recalled my grandfathers curiosity about what might be ailing the man. I saw him again today while I was happily deleting the alarms I’d set on my phone.
The odd man was a skinny old thing with a house fly mustache clad in formal clothing. The sort of creature that anyone from the Indian sub-continent would classify as an “uncle”.
He stood by the desolate office in the apartment that I could see from our house. He stood there for an hour or so. He stood there by the stairs for an hour more. He was standing so I’m not sure if he was really sick. He chatted with a few people who’d come up to him so I reasoned he was quiet capable upstairs. He disappeared though after I started writing this. No one has seen him come or go. They haven’t even seem him move for that matter.
It’s odd writing about him. A man who just… stands. Stranger than fiction. I’d investigate further under normal circumstances and try to find out why the man spends his day day dreaming but I can’t help but feel inspired to lose myself to a day dream of my own, in the sleepy city.
Underpants, umbrellas, uterus’s, understatements… I’m really starting to wonder if I should dump the current word essay format and write stories about underpants and umbrellas.
These word essays have become a writing journal of sorts and are rather pleasant to work on but they’re starting to make me a little impatient. Write fictions seems more interesting now, but I can’t use the word essay or word story challenge till I’m done with this challenge I’ve. So the stories about flying umbrella wielding mermaids who are out to lay eggs inside the heads of unsuspecting… Maybe I shouldn’t give the story away just yet. And yes my head does have a tendency to come up with disturbing fiction.
Untamed, unspoiled,utopia, uncensored… “U” seems to spend most of it’s time working as a prefix. Do letters feel bad about not have a lot of words that they have exclusive access to? “U” seems like the sad chap who always has to rent his suits. For every usual or umpire there seem to be 40 unclean, uncertain, un-this, un-that.
A lot of words that start from U feel serious in a bad way. Uniform,umpire,undertaker etc. they seem to scream somber. Utopia- that’s not a happy word, it means happy things but doesn’t seem very happy. It drab and serious in comparisons to Paradise- which seems to leap at you with excitement.
A sort of unsoiled utopia. That’s what the exams would have been if there weren’t so many holidays between each exam, and if the exams started in the morning instead of the afternoon. I would have have just walked in and out, writing about stuff I heard heard through the year and spent the rest of the day at ease.
There’s a species of happy laziness that can’t survive with too much free time, and there’s no way you can “study” for journalism so here I am writing, and speculating about future stories involving flying mermaids.
The room’s a cozy corner placed in the strangest way possible. Open the door and the world right in front you, but the room is still pulled back into the far end of the plot.
Overhead my neighbors feet thunder and scatter as he realizes he’s late for work again. A kid whines and implores this parent to look at something. I imagine he pulls at his fathers shirt as autos ignore them. My UPS screams as if annoyed at having being woken, and the window sequels as I close it. The chair squeaks as I turn to the left and reopen it.
After a session of charging at howling vikings and dodging the metallic rings of swirling scimitars I hear curious footsteps and then a quick shuffle. I realize the door has been ajar for the enter day and the swaying branches having been singing as they always do. Lazy scooters buzz past as the housewives get a move on before the mid day sun catches them. I forget about the footsteps as the windows theme announces its shutting down.
Light dew floats by when I return that evening. My neighbors’ wife seems to be talking to someone on her balcony. Proof of her existence is always rare. I prepare for my french viva as the neighborhood fills with the sound of cricket balls flying, stone wickets failing to stay upright, and uncles offering helpful tips. My monitor buzzes monotonously and more fights about the score ring out as more childish voices appear.
Thunder rings out but the voices don’t care. I step out and listen to the dirt between my feet and earth scrape. I wonder if there is some ancient part of us that loves to be reminded that in a world that sees so far, that dirt still scrapes lightly beneath moving feet.